Engaged Learning Exemplar: Colleen Boraca

Colleen Boraca

Clinical Assistant Professor Colleen Boraca  understands the importance of engaged learning. That’s why her colleagues from the College of Law nominated her to be recognized as an engaged learning exemplar for her outstanding commitment to engaged learning, teaching and scholarship.

Boraca says engaged learning is important because it fosters student investment.

“This investment inspires them to work harder and become passionate participants in their learning,” she explains.

Boraca, who is the director of the NIU Health Advocacy Clinic, says her students work on-site at the law-school based legal clinic with homeless clients, and this immersion allows them to appreciate how vital their work is to help clients transition out of homelessness.” The NIU Health Advocacy Clinic is located at Hesed House in Aurora and is the second largest homeless shelter in Illinois.

“Students have multiple written reflections during the semester,” she says. “These reflections demonstrate the many lessons they are learning, which will assist them in becoming more thoughtful, compassionate attorneys.

“Because of the work of the NIU Health Advocacy Clinic, clients have access to justice,” she continues. “Without our students, many clients would be unrepresented and unsuccessful at hearings. By helping clients secure public benefits, our students use their legal skills to help these individuals transition out of homelessness. Students who participate in the NIU Health Advocacy Clinic learn practical skills that will make them effective attorneys but also learn, first-hand, the role attorneys play in helping those impacted by poverty.”

Join Boraca, along with other faculty, staff and students for the first Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference. This new event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, and uncovers and recognizes the faculty perspective of collaborations with students and community partners. Several faculty and staff will present on best practices in engaged learning, teaching and scholarship in the Holmes Student Center. All are welcome to attend; registration is open online.

Co-sponsors of the Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference are the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning; the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center; the College of Business Experiential Learning Center; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, call 815-753-8154 or email rkersh@niu.edu.

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